Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Dear XP"

Last year at the Agile Alliance Conference, they have a contest to choose the best/funniest agile video. I think this one is a strong contender.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

GDC Session

Thanks to all the folks that showed up bright and early for my session An Agile Retrospective.

The slides are posted on my site in PDF and PPT.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Announcement: Certified Scrum Master Class for Video Game Developers

Mike Cohn has opened registration for a Certified Scrum Master Class for Video Game Developers. I'll be joining him to teach the class in Austin May 8-9th.

This two-day course not only provides the fundamental principles of Scrum, it also gives participants hands-on experience using Scrum for video game development. This course puts theory into action through a variety of exercises. During the course, attendees will learn why such a seemingly simple process such as Scrum can have such profound effects on an organization. Participants gain practical experience working with Scrum tools and activities such as the product backlog, sprint backlog, daily Scrum meetings, sprint planning meeting, and burndown charts. Participants leave knowing how to apply Scrum to all sizes of projects, from a single collocated team to a large, highly distributed team.

This is just one class with limited seating.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Agile at GDC

Here are a few links to agile related sessions at GDC.

My talk - An Agile Retrospective

BioWare/Rich Vogel's 3 day roundtable - Agile Development – Is it the Silver Bullet? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There are lots of experience stories this year as well.

Transition to Scrum Midway through a AAA Development Cycle: Lessons Learned

Agility and Mobility: Applying Agile Practices to Mobile Game Development

The World within - Building Social Environments in EVE Online's Space Stations
"Using agile methodologies such as Scrum to navigate a unique production design paradigm, this project brings together a host of disparate disciplines including fashion designers, architects, industrial designers, artists, programmers, and game designers."

Writing Great Design Documents
"Discussion will also include how to manage design documentation in a project that uses Scrum, or other Agile philosophies."

How to Break All Rules and yet Make a 90+ Game


Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Good Product Owner

One of the most important roles in Scrum (and the least scrutinized) is the Product Owner (PO). A bad PO can transform an agile project into an iterative and incremental death march.

A few key things a good PO must do:
  • Don't change the Sprint goals mid-Sprint or change the Sprint length.
  • Maintain the backlog. Have a good set of stories that fit in a Sprint (Ken Schwaber recommends six Sprints worth of stories) identified and prioritized.
  • Insist on stories being "done" at the end of a Sprint. "Done" is a big topic on its own and a PO should clearly communicate what they consider to be done at Sprint planning.
  • Participate in the review and planning sessions. Focus on the game shown at the review as well as the plan. Inspect and adapt.

We've found that "embedded POs" are best for our games. These are PO's that are part of a team, are available to give feedback during a Sprint and own the vision. That can answer to a higher authority of course (like a publisher or studio exec), but don't expect an exec to fulfill the key PO roles. The PO needs to be a bridge for many high level stake holders.

As with Scrum Masters, POs have access to great training classes that teach them how to be Product Owners.